They say it, we print it, that’s history

Eric Olson, SBJ EditorThe current issue of Springfield Business Journal reveals my picks for the top quotes published in our pages this year.

This is my fourth annual ranking of SBJ’s top quotes. In 2005, when I started the Top 10 list, I also compiled my choices for the top business stories of the year. That idea has blossomed into a full-fledged section with a recap of each, along with how those storylines will shape the new year. (See pages 11–24 in the Dec. 22 double issue.) Now, the entire editorial department votes on the top stories of the year.

Here, I’d like to note the topics that just missed our 2008 Top 10. Honorable mentions, if you will, are:

  • “Cox, Ferrell Duncan reach costly federal settlement”
  • “St. John’s opens patient tower”
  • “Celebration City closes amid Branson tourism decline”

The 2008 Quote of the Year was from Heer’s owner and St. Louis businessman Kevin McGowan, whose name joins the ranks of developers who attempted to rescue the abandoned department store with little success so far. Davis (Warren), Prost (Vaughn) and now McGowan have each had stop-and-go moments in redeveloping the one-time “gem of the Queen City” on the city’s public square, which led to McGowan’s top comment:

“I took the big stick away.”

He was speaking in July 2008 about a change in his development agreement to remove a city buy-back option.

After financing fell through later in the year, I wonder if McGowan wished he had that stick. However, now he’s got his sights set on some U.S. Housing & Urban Development-backed financing.

Sure would be interesting to sit down with the trio of developers to talk about the Heer’s experience. Could whispers of a Heer’s curse emerge?

For old time’s sake, here are the No. 1 quotes each year since 2005:

“You can call it a lollipop for all I care.” –Matt Morrow of the HBA of Greater Springfield, on Ozark’s $1,500 builder impact fee that city officials renamed a sewer connection fee (May 9, 2005)

“Oh, is he?” –Gov. Blunt brother and lobbyist Andy Blunt, expressing surprise about cousin Greg Wilmoth’s plans to build an ethanol plant east of Rogersville. (Nov. 13, 2006)

“I wouldn’t know an iPod from a pea pod.” —SRC Holdings CEO Jack Stack, on his use of the latest technologies (Nov. 5, 2007)

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